The highly-anticipated automated shuttle that will connect residents of one Scarborough neighbourhood to GO Transit will roll out next spring as part of a new pilot project by the City of Toronto.
On Wednesday morning, the City announced it had signed an agreement with Local Motors by LM Industries to deliver the City’s planned Automated Shuttle Trial, which will operate in partnership with Metrolinx and be funded by the Government of Canada and will launch sometime next spring -- as the exact start date for the program has yet to be announced.
Local Motors will provide the self-driving service using Olli 2.0, the latest iteration of its electric, self-driving shuttle.
With a seating capacity of up to eight passengers, Olli is equipped with an accessibility ramp and a wheelchair securement system, along with audio and visual announcements and other features for rider information. An on-board safety steward will oversee vehicle operations and can manually take control of the vehicle at any time when required.
In order to monitor and learn from the six-month to 12-month trial, two staff members, a certified operator from Pacific Western Transportation, and one customer service ambassador from either TTC or Metrolinx will be on board for every trip.
The service will connect the West Rouge neighbourhood and Rouge Hill GO station, and will be coordinated with GO Transit schedules. Appropriate cleaning and operational practices will follow TTC practices and standards at the time of launch.
"We are continuing to move our city forward on many fronts including micro transit as we manage the effects of COVID-19," said Mayor John Tory.
"This innovative project will provide valuable insight, while embracing innovation that could help us build a better, more sustainable and equitable transportation network.”
Local Motors is the world’s first and only digital vehicle manufacturer, according to the release. They have deployed Olli in communities around the world, including in California, Florida, and Belgium.
“We can’t wait to introduce the City of Toronto to Olli, as we know that it will provide riders with a unique, easily accessible, and comfortable experience,” said Vikrant Aggarwal the President of Local Motors in the release.
The trial is part of Toronto’s Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan and Readiness 2022 which, according to the City, is the first comprehensive automated vehicle plan for a North American city.